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A nail fungus infection usually affects the big toe but it can be found in other toes and fingers as well. This is not a severe condition but it can be unpleasant, painful and difficult to treat. Fungus infection of the toes is common in adults.

The cause of nail infection is a fungus which lives in damp and warm environment, such as your shoes. The first sign of the infection is a yellow or white spot under the nail. As the fungus grows, it spreads deeper into the nail and causes your nail to be discolored, thick, ragged and reshaped. If the nail separates from the nail bed, it can cause pain and in some cases there can be foul scent. You should visit a doctor as soon as possible, because if you start treatment on time, the healing process will be shortened and less bothersome.

Weakened blood circulation can make a person prone to fungus infections because the immune system is not able to fight against the fungi. Also, people who sweat excessively, work in moist locations, wear tight shoes and synthetic socks, or walk barefoot in moist places such as public swimming pools, shower rooms or gyms are at risk of getting nail fungus infection.

After the diagnosis, your doctor may prescribe some oral medications such as terbinafine and itraconazole. These medications are the best option if you have cellulitis, suffers from diabetes or experience pain in the affected toe. It usually takes around ten weeks to take these medications, but the healing process ends when the nail grows back which takes several months. Other treatments may include antifungal lacquer which is good for mild symptoms. You can be cured in a week if you apply the lacquer on daily bases. Topical medication and creams can be helpful but they are usually combined with oral medications. If you suffer from severe and painful condition, your doctor can perform a surgery. Your doctor will remove the infected nail and it can take a year until the new one grows back. In some cases acid and laser treatment can be effective in dealing with nail fungus.

There are also home remedies which can be useful. Soaking the foot in vinegar can prevent the fungus to grow. You should mix some vinegar in hot water and soak the foot every day. Another home treatment is Vicks VapoRub.

In order to prevent the nail fungus, you should maintain proper foot hygiene. Clean and cut your nails regularly, wear appropriate socks and shoes, avoid walking barefoot in public places and make sure the skin around the nails is healthy.

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